Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
I recently completed my 2010 Offensive Line Grades for Dallas, and the results weren’t pretty. Although I do think Doug Free is the most talented lineman on the team, Kyle Kosier ended up with the highest grade. Still, it was only a “B” (86.2 percent).
Marc Colombo’s 63 percent, however, was the worst grade I ever gave a player. If the Cowboys don’t upgrade the right tackle spot this offseason, they deserve another playoff absence in 2011. Colombo yielded a ridiculous nine sacks, 11 quarterback hits, and 40 pressures in 2010.
Anthony Castonzo reminds me much of Doug Free. He’s 6’7”, 305 pounds, but a bit of a finesse player. He’s very good in pass protection, utilizing his long arms (35 1/4 inches) and excellent hand placement to protect the quarterback. His technique is perhaps the best in the entire draft class. He rarely gets beat inside, yet still gets proper depth in his drop to allow the quarterback to step up.
Like Free, Castonzo excels on screens and counters. He uses superb body position to gain leverage on defenders. You can see this at the 1:10 mark below, when he lets UNC’s Robert Quinn (perhaps this draft’s best edge-rusher) get inside of him, then uses Quinn’s own momentum to force him that way.
If you watched that entire video, you also saw Castonzo get absolutely abused at the 11-second mark. Outside of that play, I thought Castonzo did a fir job against Quinn. Remember, Quinn is by far the top competition he faced in college, and Castonzo was neither outstanding nor horrid.
Quinn represents the type of player who could give Castonzo problems: a strong, quick edge-rusher. If Castonzo moves to right tackle (which he would likely do in Dallas), however, he won’t face too many guys like Quinn.
In general, Castonzo plays quite athletically. He always maintains a good base, even in space (which is where he excels). You can see at the 3:42 mark below that Castonzo will have some trouble blocking down. He doesn’t generally get a great push off of the snap, but I think he’ll be fine if his skill set is used correctly. Plus, the Cowboys can finally start running counters to the right side.
Some might argue that he won’t fit well at right tackle, but I disagree. We all know the game is changing into a pass-heavy attack, and the Cowboys desperately need an upgrade over Marc Colombo’s protection. Who better to replace Colombo than a fellow BC alum?
I really like what I’ve seen from Castonzo. As of now, he’s the top offensive tackle I’ve graded. He’ll be ahead of Nate Solder (by far), Gabe Carimi (by a little), and Tyron Smith (who I consider about equal to Carimi) on my board.
Castonzo is slated to be a late-first or early-second-round selection, but I think he’ll rise some before draft day. He’s got the size and athleticism coaches love, and he works to the whistle. I wouldn’t mind Dallas trading out of the No. 9 spot and selecting Castonzo in the late teens.
If that scenario doesn’t pan out, I’d wait until two of the following three players are selected: Castonzo, Carimi, and Smith. Once that happens, the Cowboys might want to look into moving up from their current second-round selection for the final guy. That way, they could secure a future right tackle and a dominant player at another position of need with their first pick.
Other Potential Dallas Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011